Facility Management | May 4, 2022
6 Tips for Commercial Roofing Program Budget Certainty
Managing day-to-day facility operations can often overtake the time needed to plan for future budgeting concerns for roofing assets. Not to mention commercial roofing expenditures have a tendency to fall into a rollercoaster of uncertain costs year-over-year making them difficult to place in a budget. Of course, when a roof fails unexpectedly and you need to replace it immediately, this can put a huge strain on your mind and commercial roofing program budget.
To further complicate matters these days, as you probably know, the global supply chain is under strains that would have been unimaginable 10 years ago. With lead times for construction materials approaching one year, budgeting for material cost that is locked in when something is shipped, not when it is ordered, is a nightmare, making it more important than ever to avoid cost elsewhere in your roofing program.
Regardless of these criteria, roofs remain one of the largest investments for facility owners and operators. However, they also hold the greatest opportunities to improve facility performance. Managing these assets in the most effective way can prevent emergencies, maximize service life, and reduce both your capital and operating costs.
6 tips for maximizing commercial roofing program budget certainty
1. Evaluate future requirements for roof expenditures, particularly requirements for re-roofing of existing facilities
In order to accurately prioritize roof expenditures, it’s important to begin with quality commercial roof assessments. Without knowing current roof conditions, it would be impossible to determine which roofs need to be replaced, which can be rehabilitated, and which require repairs and monitoring. Once data for the portfolio is collected, the data should be reviewed considering the following factors:
- Roof age
- Roof condition
- Roof type
- Service/leak history
- Climate and weather
- Investment horizon
- Building use
Reviewing inspection data for the above factors and estimating the remaining service life for each roof allows for accurate budgeting of future requirements for roof expenditures.
2. Develop strategies to minimize roofing expense while maintaining high roof reliability and performance
How can you combine high reliability with the lowest cost? When evaluating a roof, ask the following questions, in this order:
- Can the roof be maintained in a reliable state using only preventive maintenance? If so, what is the maintenance plan?
- If not, then can the roof be repaired and returned to a maintainable state? If so, what repairs are required, and what is the budget? How long will it last?
- If not, then can the roof be rehabilitated and put back into long-term reliable performance? If so, what is the scope, what is the budget, can it be warranted, and how long will it last?
- Finally, if none of the above will work, then what is the best roof replacement option for the building based on the location, the climate, the building, the use of the building, and the budget? What is the scope and what is the budget?
3. Consider alternatives to roof replacement where appropriate that can save money while maintaining reliability and a high-quality image for your facilities
Many roofs are prematurely replaced. There are often strategies in which the service life of a roof can be extended for several years to make room in the budget for replacement. Strategies include bundled corrective repairs, annual or bi-annual preventive maintenance, and rehabilitation options depending on the roof type. This can allow for higher priority buildings to be replaced first while keeping the other buildings in your portfolio safe, leak-free, and holding a steady year-over-year budget until they are ready for replacement.
4. Save on overall roofing expenditures through effective project scoping and a balanced budget plan
- Identify which roofs are viable for restoration and determine the restoration strategy, high-level scope, budget, and schedule. As part of this effort, identify those restoration projects that could be performed by an in-house roof service team vs. those that would likely require an outside contractor.
- Create budget priorities and recommendations in a 10-year budget plan that includes the right mix of roof maintenance, repair, restoration, and replacement for each facility and for the entire building portfolio.
5. Bundle all categories of roof work into efficient packages to take advantage of economies of scale
- Build a scope of work, material list, and labor estimate of roof repair costs for high-priority corrective repairs. If possible, include an estimate of extended remaining service life as a result of repairs.
- Produce bundled scopes of work for roof repairs in an RFP format. These bundles can be designed to create the most efficient approach based on the type of work, location of the project, and proximity to other nearby properties.
6. Optimize expenditures to meet objectives related to priorities, capital vs. operating expense, future facility portfolio strategy, etc.
At this point, you may be thinking “this is a lot of work, no wonder I don’t have time to build a plan for my commercial roofing program.” You’re not alone, and many facility managers are looking to turnkey program management by professional roofing consultants and facility asset management consultants to augment in-house capabilities. If you choose to work with a consultant for your program, they will work closely with you to set the priorities as well as build appropriate budgets and predictable schedules to eliminate unnecessary roof replacement and budget waste in your roof program. The benefits are worth it. As costs are reduced, your roof performance will improve by taking a balanced approach to preventing leaks and extending the reliable service life of your roofs. A commercial roofing consultant can be your strategic advisor and an extension of your team so you don’t have to go it alone on all 6 of these steps.
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